Summer. I absolutely love summer.
The hot, the sticky, the sweaty, the bugs (ok maybe not mosquitoes) - but I do seriously just love all there is about summer. August is typically the best month because the summer nights are warm and the days are long and it just seems as though it will never end. Of course, I know that fall is just around the corner and as soon as the earth gets to that sweet spot - the days get just a bit shorter and there’s a briskness to the air in the mornings. Here and there I will catch a glimpse of a leaf falling and maybe even a swirling of leaves that had collected against the sidewalks edge as I pass down a side street.
What I have to remind myself is that these early falling leaves are a gentle reminder that there are signs everywhere and if I take a moment to breathe in, close my eyes and laugh a bit I’ll be able to take in that moment. I can be one with the natural rhythm of life - the one that says rise up early in the morning while your body is alert and ready. Rest in the evening and enjoy what is around like a bonfire or a cup of hot tea and a book. I can choose to be a participant in the rhythm of the day and the season.
I can choose this time to intuitively listen to the energy around me. I can take that moment in and then I can learn to love the next moment just as much
Ok fall - I am ready. Bring it.💋
Be strong. Give and receive LOVE.
This is the wrap up of the book. The place that makes you say "ah, yes" this is what we need to do. It comes back to us and how we treat ourselves first before stepping into the wilderness.
We need to have self love and self respect. We need to LIKE our selves. We should want to hang out with ourselves and be able to say "self - YOU are pretty awesome, YOU have boundaries, YOU are reliable, YOU have integrity, YOU practice confidentiality, YOU can give and receive help, You are generous to yourself and to others words and actions." When you can do this then you are able to experience the wilderness and true belonging.
Take time to journal and discuss the following:
Create a daily practice of gratitude.
1. Write it down.
2. Say it out loud.
3. Share it with others.
Try this for 30 days.
Your mission of belonging, being in the wilderness and experiencing the energy from being connected to yourself and to others is not going to happen overnight. This is an adventure and being open to the journey and the process the past will unravel and reveal that strong back, soft heart and wild heart you are seeking.
We are all connected. Energy is the connecting force of our world. We cannot escape it. We either use it for good or not for good. Choose good. It makes us all smile a lot more.
This chapter! This chapter is by far my favorite chapter. It brings it all together. EVERYTHING. The connection between all of us is present and always present no matter what happens on a daily basis. It is what you do with it when this connection is tested over and over and over again.
When the connection is tested and seems broken it is easy to hide, retreat, get angry, yell, cry and yes even hate. It creates a place where we are not able to go into the wilderness. So, amazing isn't it. Just at that time when you should be standing up and shouting from the rooftops and having courage it is easy to stay in our own small world. It makes it easy to get frustrated at someone for being too loud, too quiet, too smelly, too peppy, too happy ... the list can go on! I am sure you get the idea. You have to work with YOU. Work on creating and participating in collective moments!
Journal and/or discuss the following:
1. What collective moments of joy have you participated in? What collective moments of pain have you participated in?
2. How did you feel during the event? After the event?
3. What do you remember in recollection of the event? Who was there? What was going on? Why was the event happening? Were you smiling? Were you laughing? Crying? How does your body feel? What did you smell? What did you hear? What did you wear?
4. It is easy with social media, work, distractions etc to NOT show up. Do you have times where you do this? How can you make a change in this area in your life?
"It's helpful to think of lying as a defiance of the truth and bullshitting asa wholesale dismissal of the truth. Second, it's advantageous to recognize how we often rely on bullshitting when we feel compelled ot talk about things we don't understand." - Brene Brown.
This title says it all! I mean we can all relate, right?! It is actually funny as I write this and think - well I am did exactly what she said as I opened and started reading. I had an opinion without even knowing what the topic was really going to be about. I started debating in my head - you do that right? I started debating with myself and having very strong feelings about bullshit and what people say and do. I did this before even knowing what she had written in the chapter. Darn it. I got sucked in!
My thoughts pulled right to - I am not a bullshitter and if you are well you are not coming to my house for dinner. So there. Tongue sticking out and all! This is what philosophy is considered a false dichotomy or false dilemma. We force people to take sides. It feels safe to take a side. This is something that occurs in high emotional situations. Unfortunately, this creates a side chosen out of fear and not critical thinking.
When we have critical thinking and problem solving we have courage and integrity. We are able to have civility and this is when we can have caring and respect for others. This is a great time to go back to the concept earlier in the book of BRAVING.
Use the acronym braving as a check list for a topic. Choose a topic: journal or discuss using the checklist.
1. Boundaries. What is ok to discuss? How do you set a boundary on a topic?
2. Reliability. Do you BS to much? Are you or the individual trustworthy and reliable?
3. Accountability. How can you keep yourself and others accountable?
4. Vault. Civility means you are confidential with information.
5. Integrity. How do you maintain integrity and make sure the conversation is productive.
6. Non-judgment. Are you able to go into a connection mode and not a place of choose sides.
7. Generosity. What are generous assumptions you can make about others? What boundaries have to be in place so that we can ensure we are more tolerant and kinder?
"We feel love.and we know pain. We feel hope and we know struggle.
Sounds so simple. But yet for some it so difficult. Sounds so easy. But yet for some is so hard. Seems like advice you would give a child in school. Get to know them. You might like them. Or - I am sure if you hung out with Johnny or Sue you would find you have so much in common.
I am sure everyone remembers a time in their childhood that a parent or teacher told you this. Amazingly what did you find? They were right! The person you thought you could NOT stand to be near is now your new best friend. WHY? Why does this happen?
This happens because we are ALL human! We all have the same needs and wants. When we stand back and keep a distance - we get away from the person and we take away their dignity, This is dehumanization. This is a process that takes time and makes a group of people less important, inferior and overall less human. In 'Less Than Human' by David Smith it explains how as humans we must go through this process of using language, actions and then pictures to create an enemy that is less human. This unfortunately can be seen over and over in many war situations and in slavery.
You might be saying to yourself right now these situations are not part of my world. This is not something I deal with but unfortunately you are wrong. There are many places of dehumanization that occur on a regular basis. The biggest place I think we have all seen it is in social media. This is a place where it is easy for the person typing away at their keyboard to dehumanize someone on the other end. It is easy for people to disconnect and disregard another person's dignity.
Brene Brown states that this line of dignity is one that is being crossed every single day by many groups of people every single day. WHY? Fear. We have become a society that is not able to have meaningful conversation and agree to disagree. There is a need to protect the "house" or the "system" - and this is done out of fear.
Fear creates individuals that worry about fitting in vs. having true belonging. It is time to have what is Brene Brown calls conflict transformation and not resolution. Have a desire to learn and lean in and get close up. This is when YOU realize that people are hard to hate close up!
These questions can be used for group discussion or for reflection in your own journal writing.
1. Have you been in a situation where a system was being protected? How did you feel in this situation? Was it easy to get sucked into the emotions? Were you able to voice your opinion? Did you feel worried about not being accepted by the group if you had a different opinion?
2. Have you ever made a statement about a group of people but then found yourself defending the one person that was not like the others in the group?
3. Do you agree with the statement? - "Pain that is denied or ignored becomes fear or hate."
4. The story of Viola Davis is an amazing story. It is a story of pain, fear, courage and vulnerability. Have you had a moment in your life where you decided that the past was not going to define you?
5. EVERY story matters. Your story matters. My story matters. Have you written down your story? Have you shared your story? If, not... what are you waiting for? EVERY story matters.
High Lonesome A Spiritual Crisis. "Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us..." - Brene Brown
Loneliness is a definitely a subject that is not easily discussed with others. This is something that creates a bit of negativity as is stated in the book. We talk about loneliness in conjunction with needing therapy, being depressed and the loner is almost always associated with a criminal especially - as we have all seen on the news and social media - the juvenile criminal. By treating the feelings of loneliness as negative it creates a taboo feeling. A feeling that is often not discussed and then as a result there is no discussion of what to do to when we feel lonely.
In our present culture and political times the feelings of loneliness have increased as we protect ourselves. What are we protecting ourselves from? This is the hardest and yet easiest to understand - FEAR. This is the driving force behind our need to protect ourselves, pick sides, remain quiet, be loud - be controlling, reflexive sorting of friends, groups, books, discussions which, all lead to only having support from those that agree with everything you do. This creates a place where a differing opinion does not lead to a discussion because - you are not allowed to have a different opinion. That is the final answer.
As you read this chapter you may find yourself uneasy with the topics presented. You may read this chapter and reflect back to many situations where this type of fear has occurred. The greatest fear I believe we can overcome is our the one that allows us to dig deep into ourselves and reflect. Looking in to ourselves and our own actions.
As before these questions are great for reviewing the chapter and for book club discussions.
1. When have you found yourself protecting yourself - either by choosing a side and joining the masses OR remaining quiet?
2. When have you looked at a class or a group and thought that it would be cool - only to then not sign up or go because it would be a different group of people than what you would normally hang out with?
3. When have you not taken action (class, workshop, place, book etc.) because you were worried about what a friend or family member would say?
4. Now think back to time in the same scenarios above BUT you did it anyway - you went to the class etc. NOW here is the question did you do it because you were being true to your authentic self OR to prove a point to someone?
5. What do you think of loneliness and being alone - is it the same? Is it different?
6. Think of a situation where you felt alone but yet you were with a lot of people - did you find yourself going to a place of protection - (choosing a side, remaining quiet, agreeing with the loudest person in the room, being defensive, being sarcastic, gossip)
7. Interdependence means that we gain strength from working together. How can you implement this into your life - your social circles, family, work etc.?
"Paradox - in latin- seemingly absurd but really true...."
Wow! This book has an amazing first chapter and lays the ground work for some serious reflection. Brene Brown does a great job of getting into our core and it forces us to truly think about why we have a need to belong. Why a tribe is so important. Why we INNATELY cannot deny ourselves this true need!
At the center of this innate driven need to belong we have to remain true to ourselves. True to our authenticity. We have to belong to ourselves first and then we truly belong.
Questions to ask yourself for Chapter 2. And as before you can do these for yourself, or in a group. Dig deep - you only have to share with yourself which, is the center of one's ability to truly belong.
1. What does wilderness mean to you?
2. Review the 7 elements of trust.
Boundaries, Reliability Accountability, Vault, Integrity, Non judgement, Genorosity
3. When have you had someone violate these 7 elements. One person may have done them all or different people for different elements.
4. Now take the 7 elements and apply them to yourself.
WHEN have you violated these elements to others. And then when have you violated them to yourself.
Apply this to work, family, groups, loved ones.
5. Recognize where could you have changed your choice above and not violated the element. Would you have had a different outcome.
Ex. You violated telling a story that was not yours to tell and ended up in a argument with that person and are no longer friends.
Ex. You told your friend that you were going to help watch their child and you did not and chose to go out with friends. Your friend lost their job.
6. Review the daily practice and reflect on the paradox of the 4 elements. Understanding that we are dynamic human beings and that we can sometimes live in a paradox is important. It allows us to know we do have tools to use in any situation. BRAVING is one such tool. Being able to self assess daily.
7. For one week do a daily self assessment ask yourself -
Today was I:
Being able to reflect on our own actions and those around us allows us to gain control of these actions and to be able to truly belong without compromising our authenticity.
"True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are. True belonging is not about fitting in, pretending, or making the people around us comfortable because that's safer." What then is true belonging?
I think we all have moments in our lives that we have said "Oh, I do NOT belong here!" And on the other end of the spectrum we have been in places where we tell ourselves; "Oh Yeah! This is MY place, MY peeps"!
For some of us this IS a daily occurrence. A daily task. And some may even say a daily chore.
But the question is WHAT is it that makes us seek this out? WHY do we do this on a daily basis?
Braving The Wilderness is a raw look into ourselves - our TRUE selves!
The author Brene Brown has done an amazing job at looking into all the stories we tell ourselves and why we use these stories and HOW they became our stories. What I absolutely love is knowing that we all have a primal instinct - a true desire to fit in - it is INNATE! Being able to truly belong we have to gain control over our story and then challenge ourselves each day with 4 basic elements.
Some may read this and think this is just another "self-help" book. NOPE!! This is all about just SELF! And how you can be the best self you can be! The world is a great place and can be an even better place when we take time for the people in it... and that includes taking care of YOU!
This book is great for a book club for friends, the office or just YOU. Over the next few posts I will post questions! Grab yourself a journal and a pen that you love and get ready to Brave the Wilderness!!!
Chapter 1 - Everywhere and Nowhere
1. Who do you seek out for wisdom? Make a list of 5 people: friends, family members, blog, books, talks, videos,
2. What is your first instinct? Do you choose those in number 1 that are full of energy, creativity and positiveness? Or do you find yourself looking at the snarkiest meme, a blog of complaints or even at the comments on a post - where your first thought is " WHO are these people"?
3. When as a child did you not feel that you belonged?
Write out your story. This may be short or it may be long - take the time to write out all the descriptions. How you felt. Your age. Who was with you. Where you were. The event. What was said. Were there certain smells in the air. What were you wearing. At different times we bring back different memories of the same event the goal is to put it all in one space.
4. What is your FIRST instinct when someone questions:
Something you have said? Something you have done?
What is your response? What do you do with your face? Your eyes? What happens to your skin? Your palms? Your armpits? What do you say? What do you not say?
5. Brene Brown talks about the story we have created starts when we are young. There is a single moment where we feel as though we are no longer part of our family. This is where it begins. This is where the silence begins and creates 3 forms of suffering:
1. Pain - you seek relief by numbing it or inflicting on others
2. Deny pain - and you pass this denial onto those around you
3. Courage to own the pain - develop compassion for others and the hurt all around the world
When have you found yourself handling the silence and treating it with one of the above outcomes in personal and in the workplace?
7. Give yourself a permission slip. Write it out. Set an intention. Take action.